Review: Slobodan Kajkut – DARKROOM

DARKROOM begins with the sound of circulating air. Winds probing the corners of barren corridors. It’s the sort of hiss that can incite hallucinations if one dwells within it for too long: traces of human voice, the rasp of passing traffic. Before too long I realise that I am trapped here. Permanently sealed off from sunlight. Circling the drain for 46 minutes. Stagnant but not silent. An atmospheric purgatory of sorts; groaning with only the most withered traces of life, denied access to either the promise of becoming more, or the liberation of reducing to nothing.

Upon this atmospheric base, Kajkut places an instrumental interchange that crawls like a slug, stubborn and lacklustre in its progression, moving without ever seeming to advance. Clarinet and vibraphone creep through semitonal shifts, edging up and down one pitch at a time, sliding against eachother, falling behind eachother, copying eachother, diverging from eachother, seeking an alignment that they’re eternally doomed to evade. And then there’s Kajkut’s muffled drum machine, which staggers between a bass drum “boom” and a snare drum “pish”, mediating the ugly melodic ballet like some wretched and broken timekeeping device. They dance in the dark. Unable to escape, unable to reconcile.